Prayer Shawl Ministries and Women's Theological Imagination
Interviews with more than one hundred women reveal the theology behind prayer shawl making, a lay ministry that takes place in churches of nearly every denomination. These "handmade" conceptual frameworks provide a rich case study of ordinary theology in action, outlining women's religious creativity and reflection across the American Christian landscape.
- Hardback | 390 pages
- 158 x 239 x 32mm | 717g
- 30 Oct 2015
- Lexington Books
- Lanham, MD, United States
About Donna Bowman
Donna Bowman is professor of honors interdisciplinary studies in the Norbert O. Schedler Honors College at the University of Central Arkansas.
Bowman presents a descriptive account of Christian laywomen who create prayer shawls. Using this group as a case study in theology forged in a local, bottom-up context, the author discusses how third-wave feminism offered the opportunity to take more seriously modes of women's work that happen in domestic or craft-based domains. But Bowman's central argument is theological: she sees so-called prayer shawl ministries as a movement productively challenging dominant sources of meaning making. The author's investment in the object of her study is clear ... Christian theologians and practitioners of fiber arts will likely find the book a good read. Summing Up: Recommended. Professionals and general readers. CHOICE Spiritual practices that people actually engage in make great foundations for theology. This study of creating, using, and letting people know the importance of prayer shawls reflects pastoral theology done well. Surely there are other such practices that would benefit from this kind of elucidation. Water Women's Alliance We professional theologians often talk about the importance of lay participation in theology and about the need for bottom-up theology to check top-down theology. But this generally remains just talk. Donna Bowman has heard a lot of Christian women into theological speech. If she had asked them to describe their "theology," nothing of value would be likely, but they are fully articulate in reflecting about their Christian activities. May the genre thus pioneered by Bowman flourish! -- John Cobb, Claremont Center for Process Studies With this book, Donna Bowman has created a handmade theology, or better, a "shawlology." The prayer shawls we read about here are not merely metaphorical, but hold values of protection, memory, communal identification and communication, woven with profound strands of meaning. Doing theology with needle and yarn, Bowman shows how some of the most vital origins of theological thinking begin in the experiences of living rooms. Readers will come to a renewed vision of the material experiences at the heart of faith. -- S. Brent Plate, Hamilton College, author of A History of Religion in 51/2 Objects: Bringing the Spiritual to Its Senses
Table of contents
Chapter 1: Shawl Origins Chapter 2: Connection Chapter 3: Inclusion Chapter 4: Reciprocity Chapter 5: Kindling Chapter 6: Compassion Chapter 7: Solidarity Chapter 8: Generativity Chapter 9: Trust Chapter 10: Empowerment